The History of BBQ Grilling: A Look at the Pursuit of Perfection in America’s Backyards

BBQ grilling chicken and bell peppers

Outdoor cooking in America is a popular activity, especially during the summer months. Many people enjoy grilling burgers, hot dogs, and other items over an open flame or on a gas grill. Others may prefer to cook over a campfire, either in a backyard or while camping in the wilderness. No matter the method, outdoor cooking allows people to enjoy the beauty of nature while preparing delicious meals. What is the difference between BBQing and grilling, though? That is what we will explore in The History of BBQ Grilling.

It is difficult to determine exactly when humans first began using fire to cook food, but it is believed to have been a significant development in human history. The use of fire for cooking would have allowed early humans to more easily digest and extract nutrients from a wider variety of foods, which would have had a major impact on human evolution. Some evidence suggests that the use of fire for cooking may have emerged around 1 million years ago, but it is likely that the practice has a much longer history.

If you are reading this, I imagine you likely already have a good idea of what BBQ grilling is. For the die-hards out there though, you might cringe when you see or hear “BBQ grilling.” That’s because, they are actually two different techniques. It would be similar to saying “sous vide baking.” Sous vide is the process of sealing foods in a vacuum sealed bag and cooking it in temperature controlled water. While baking is the process of cooking food by dry heat without direct exposure to a flame. Similarly, BBQing and grilling is the difference between cooking slow and low (BBQ) or hot and fast (grilling).

A Brief History of BBQing in America

Barbecue (BBQ) has a long and rich history in America, with roots that can be traced back to indigenous peoples and the arrival of European settlers. Indigenous peoples in the Americas have been cooking food over an open fire for thousands of years, and the tradition of BBQ likely has its roots in these early practices.

When European settlers arrived in the Americas, they brought with them their own traditions of cooking meat over an open fire, and these traditions merged with those of the indigenous peoples to create the BBQ traditions that are now an integral part of American culture.

Over time, BBQ has evolved and developed into a diverse and varied cuisine, with regional differences and variations in techniques and ingredients. Today, BBQ is enjoyed all across America, and it is an integral part of many cultural and social events. Here at PNW Grill and Sip, we try to highlight what we are calling Northwest Style BBQ. It’s a relatively new concept, but maybe it will eventually gain some traction

Choosing the Right BBQ or Grill

Choosing the right BBQ or grill for your backyard can seem like a simple task. It is, however, a complicated decision that requires lots of thought and research. You must first understand the different kinds of BBQs and grills, then you must consider things like size and features.

Three Main Types

There are many types of BBQs and grills, however, three main types are used in American backyards. Gas grills, charcoal grills, and smokers are the primary cookers used, let’s explore them a bit more below.

Gas Grills

A gas grill is a type of outdoor grill that uses propane or natural gas as a fuel source. Gas grills are a popular choice for outdoor cooking because they are easy to start, easy to control the temperature, and produce minimal smoke. Depending on the quality and fuel source, they can produce a heat source as low as 250 degrees up to over 500 degrees. These are great options for individuals with little to no experience cooking outdoors.

Charcoal Grills

A charcoal grill is a type of outdoor grill that uses charcoal as a fuel source. Charcoal grills are popular because they can produce high heat and give food a distinctive smoky flavor. They require a bit more attention and skill compared to a gas grill due to the increased difficulty with using charcoal as the fuel source. Too much charcoal and you can burn your food quickly, too little and your cook time might be longer than you want.

There are many brands and styles of charcoal grills, however, here at PNW Grill and Sip we use a Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill. Weber is one of the best brands on the market and are known for their craftsmanship and quality. If you are looking for a charcoal grill for your BBQ and grilling needs, a Weber is a great choice.


A smoker is a type of outdoor cooking equipment that is designed specifically for smoking food at a low and slow. Cooking at a low temperature (usually between 225-275°F) over a long period of time (often several hours) using wood chips or wood chunks to create smoke.

There are several different types of smokers available, including charcoal smokers, electric smokers, and pellet smokers. If we are smoking anything, we use our Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Smoker. It uses wood pellets fed through an auger into the cooking chamber to create both heat and smoke. This is the simplest way to BBQ, as it takes all the skill of fire management out of the hands of the chef.

Considerations When Shopping for a Cooker

There are a few key factors to consider when choosing the right BBQ grill for your backyard:

  1. Size: Consider the size of your backyard and how much space you have available for the grill. You should also think about how many people you typically cook for, as this will help determine the size of grill you need.
  2. Fuel type: There are several different fuel options for BBQ grills, including charcoal, gas, wood pellet, and electricity. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, so consider which one would work best for you.
  3. Price: Determine your budget and look for grills that fit within it. Keep in mind that cheaper grills may not always be the best value, as they may not be as durable or have as many features as more expensive models.
  4. Features: Look for grills that have features that will make your BBQ experience more enjoyable, such as a built-in thermometer, a warming rack, or a side burner for sauces and sides.
  5. Brand and warranty: Consider the reputation of the brand and what kind of warranty is offered with the grill. A good warranty can provide peace of mind and save you money in the long run.

Recipes to Try

So, you’ve done your research and are ready to fire up your BBQ or grill and get cooking. What are you going to cook, though? Here are some of PNW Grill and Sip’s favorite recipes!

Meats to BBQ or Grill

When people think of BBQ, they think of juicy and meaty proteins. Here are a few for you to try:

  • Smoked Pork Tenderloin – Childhood nostalgia meets Northwest Style BBQ as you perfect the delicious Smoked Pork Tenderloin recipe on your grill!
  • Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken – Fire up the grill, crack a beer, and get your marinade on with this perfect summer Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken recipe!
  • Smoked Pork Shoulder – This summer impress your friends and enjoy some good old fashioned Memphis style BBQ with this Smoked Pork Shoulder recipe!
  • Smoked Eye of Round – Classic Texas BBQ meets the eye of round in this low and slow recipe that can spend all day smoking away to tender perfection!
  • Smoky Cheeseburger – Winner winner BBQ burger dinner! Fire up the smoker and lick those chops, the Smoky Cheeseburger is an American classic dinner! Perfect as a simple dinner to kick off the weekend, or double or triple the recipe and invite some friends over for a socially distanced BBQ!

Vegetable Recipes to BBQ or Grill

Nobody said BBQ was just about meat, though. Grilled vegetables and smoked vegetables will always have a space on my dinner table. Don’t forget about dessert either!

  • BBQ Asparagus – Fire up the smoker and get ready for some great Northwest BBQ! BBQ Asparagus is the zesty BBQ side dish you have been waiting to pair with that brisket!
  • Crispy Smoked Fingerling Potatoes – The Crispy Smoked Fingerling Potatoes is a delectable BBQ side to complete your barbeque meal experience any time of year!
  • Spicy Smoked Veggies – Get ready to sweat with these Spicy Smoked Veggies, we are serious!
  • Smoked Carrot Soup – Blended to creamy perfection, this Smoked Carrot Soup is just what you need as the leaves change color and the lattes become pumpkin-spiced!
  • Old Fashioned Oat Apple Crisp – The Smoked Old Fashioned Oat Apple Crisp is ooey, gooey, warm, and bubbly with a big old scoop of old-fashioned vanilla ice cream on top!

Disclaimer: Some links in my posts may be affiliate links. I’m not being paid to advertise them to my readers, however, I may make a small commission if you purchase them. This blogging thing ain’t free, ya know? I wouldn’t share anything I don’t already own myself, or have on my wish list of items to buy.

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